Montana at 6 p.m.

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UPCOMING TOMORROW:

HUNTING GRIZZLIES

MISSOULA — A federal judge will consider whether to allow the first grizzly bear hunts in more than four decades around Yellowstone National Park after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lifted protections for about 700 of the animals last year. Wildlife advocates and Native Americans who have sued to stop the hunts say the population remains vulnerable. Judge Dana Christensen has said he wants to make a decision before fall hunting season.

TOP STORIES TODAY:

HUNTING GRIZZLIES

HELENA — A judge is expected to make a ruling this week on whether the first grizzly bear hunting season to be held in the Lower 48 states in more than four decades will open as scheduled on Saturday outside Yellowstone National Park. Wildlife advocates and Native American tribes will appear in court Thursday to urge U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen to reinstate federal protections that were lifted last year for approximately 700 grizzlies living in and around Yellowstone. They are asking him to do so before the hunts begin this weekend in Wyoming and Idaho. By Matt Volz. SENT: 880 words, photo.

WILD HORSES

BILLINGS — Wildlife advocates on Wednesday asked a federal judge in Montana to stop a planned mustang roundup they argue would destroy the genetic viability of a herd descended from the mounts of Spanish conquistadors. The Bureau of Land Management beginning Sunday intends to remove 17 of the roughly 150 horses on the 59-square mile (154-square kilometer) Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range along the Montana-Wyoming border. By Matthew Brown. SENT: 360 words, photos.

BI-STATE SAGE GROUSE-ESA RULING

RENO, Nev. — A U.S. judge who earlier ruled federal wildlife officials illegally denied Endangered Species Act protection for a population of bi-state sage grouse in California and Nevada in 2015 has reinstated the proposed listing of the bird as threatened until a new review determines whether it's on the brink of extinction. In the meantime, U.S. District Chief Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero in San Francisco also ordered on Friday reinstatement of the proposed designation of more than 2,800 square miles (7,200 square kilometers) of critical habitat along the Sierra's eastern front. By Scott Sonner. SENT: 640 words, photo.

OF MONTANA INTEREST:

MARIJUANA-STONER STEREOTYPES

LOS ANGELES — Michelle Janikian, who writes about marijuana for publications like Herb, Playboy and Rolling Stone, says after she tells someone what she does for a living, she usually spends the rest of the conversation "trying to act so friendly and mainstream" so they don't think she's stoned. Adam Salcido relates that after he went to work a couple of years ago for a Southern California company that helps organize weed-infused events like Hempfest and Cannabis Cup, he had to reassure his family he wouldn't turn into a drug addict. Stoner stereotypes die hard. By John Rogers and Krysta Fauria. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

— WEST NILE DEATH-MONTANA — Montana health officials say an elderly man from Yellowstone County has died of West Nile virus.

— TRUMP MONTANA — President Donald Trump is coming back to Montana.

— CRASH VICTIMS IDENTIFIED — A Montana coroner has identified the two 17 year olds that were killed in a crash outside of Lewistown in central Montana.

— TALC PLANT LOCKOUT— Management and union workers at a talc-milling plant in Three Forks plan to resume contract negotiations amid a worker lockout that's lasted nearly a month.

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MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Montana and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational pane of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click "All" or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.